Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hey, Your Bike's A Pig!

Someone informs me that Brando rode his own Triumph motorcycle in the movies, not a Harley, which I can't say I'd ever have noticed the difference or would have thought was worth the research time.  But it's kind of funny if that's true.  

I remember about, oh, it must be about twenty or twenty five years ago, going with one of my brothers and his family to the Oxford Fair and seeing really old bikers in their leathers strutting around, even then in their early senescence if not older - though it could be the biker lifestyle that made them look like that. Biker life is no fountain of youth, you know.   "Hells Grannies" I said then, thinking how ridiculous they looked.  Those are the guys and their gals who Harley-Davidson was marketing to.  I doubt they're buying many from the grave, these days.  

I don't know, are the Triumph bikes the same company that made the shitty cars that were notorious for being off the road and in the shop more than they were on the road?  I knew a guy who in his middle age bought a "classic Triumph" which was a heap - he bought it "for his wife," don't you know. Le'ts just say it was a rather icy ending to the birthday party -  put huge amounts of money into the thing. had it painted to a mirror finish and I doubt they drove it more than a few dozen times before they unloaded the perpetual oil leaker.   I've heard Harleys are notorious for that, too.  Not that I care.  

I'd rather have a moped, much more fun.  Though these days I'd rather have a 3-speed bike old enough so I wouldn't care if someone stole it.  My near miss of a late mid-life crisis on wheels was thinking of buying a cargo trike with a box in case I had to sell fast food at the farmer's market.  It didn't come to that.  Not yet.  Imagine me peddling pretzels or muffins. 

Hot Afternoon

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar.

I'm tempted to go over the Trump v Twitter war but it's friggin' hot here and I should be out in the garden or asleep with a fan blowing on me.  I've been waking up at three in the morning and not falling back asleep wondering how terrible the Trump pandemic is going to be this summer into fall.  Trump, his billionaire backers and Republican-fascists are killing tens of thousands with lies, that's already literally been documented for Trump's lies, mostly told on Twitter which won't really do anything to keep him from getting more tens of thousands killed, if not hundreds of thousands or more.   

I will note that when Pudd'nhead Wilson was around, public figures could sue for libel and they'd have to do it unamplified or on paper.  He'd have to expand the thought to what happens in mass electronic media.  

Just can't remember how Twain spelt it.

Walter Brueggemann - Time

Another of the recent interview segments with Walter Brueggemann.  It's a different view of the same topics that Hans Kung dealt with in some of the things I excerpted during this Easter Season, which ends Sunday.   I especially like what he said,  "God loves us to eternity".   I have to admit that I misunderstood Brueggemann's thinking about the idea of life after death which doesn't seem to be far from Kung's (and Rahner's, I believe) idea of us dying into God's eternity, not a naive view of heaven as commonly conceived of as a continuation of our present life with benefits.  And that the idea of that is not an excuse for ignoring justice in this life but a reason for all the more striving for it.  The interviewer talks about "getting in on eternal love now."  Which is certainly the same thing as any mature concept of justice, it's what the Jewish-Christian-Islamic tradition has been about since the time The Law was written.  

Post Memorial Day Idyll

Tell the truth or trump - but get the trick.  
Calendar of Puddin'head Wilson From the novel of the same name. 

I found that nothing reduced my esteem for Mark Twain more than attempting to read his complete works. There are real gems in it but much, perhaps most of it is pretty bad.  Of all of his books, and I believe I read all of them, I like Life on the Mississippi the best.  I detest Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper and never thought the frog story that made him famous as a humorist was funny, not at all when I was assigned to read it in 6th grade.  Like much of his humor, especially that delivered as narrative instead of off the cuff remarks by mostly callow minds, it was forced. 

Which brings me to the worst thing about Twain, he wrote out of the minds of children.  Even Puddin'head Wilson, an intelligent small town intellectual is more a boy-man tinkerer science sleuth.  He's almost not important to the story which, as whenever Twain deals with racial discrimination, is him at his best.  His discovery of the tragic truth through fingerprints is anachronistic in the extreme for antebellum Missouri.  No doubt Twain had seen Galton's book on fingerprints of a year or two before he wrote the book.  It's sort of riverboat steam-punk of its time.  

That writing tactic of elevating childish thinking inevitably leads into nostalgic sentimentalism, wallowing in romanticized memories of childhood as we would like it to have been.  It's remarkable how many of the most esteemed books in the canon have that feature, that they present the thinking of children as some kind of perfection, even when they deal with terrible things in reality.   It'll lead you to produce best sellers and get you fame and even some enduring celebrity but it's never going to be useful to grownups for much.   Nowadays I doubt most children ever get more of it than Hollywood might bring their way.  I know college-credentialed young'uns who never read anything by him.  And why should they have?  It's not as if they're missing vital life lessons from it.  They could get more from reading, especially, the non-fiction literature produced by Black writers of his time and learn a lot more than he's going to give them.  Not to mention women - it's remarkable how few women there are in most of his stuff.  

I've pissed off some by pointing out something others have noticed, that his most esteemed book,  Huckleberry Finn totally falls apart at the end when he and Jim get washed up at just the right place for them to meet up with Tom Sawyer and after some truly awful writing about their days at Sawyer's relatives place, Jim finds out he's been freed, not by his own initiative but by the nobility of the white woman who held him in bondage.  It's like Twain didn't plan on how to end the book with any kind of realism once he ran out of river and so he just reverted to the same bilge he had success with in Tom Sawyer.  

That quote you throw at me, "Faith is making believe you know what you know ain't true (sic)", you got it wrong as so many online seem to have, and as you no doubt got from those on line who made the same mistake, it wasn't from Huckleberry Finn, it's from Puddin'head Wilson's New Calendar, the humorous "quotes" with which Twain prefaced the chapters in Following The Equator.   Which has a number of virtues even as it is a mess of a book which he wrote to get himself out of debt from making a really dumb bad investment which he also involved a number of others in.   It was his most cynical period which doesn't wear well.  I think he never had a mature reaction against the rather dreadful unreconstructed Calvinism of his youth.  As any number of intelligent believers who have had much interaction with barroom style atheists and agnostics - certainly the style that Twain affected - they find very quickly that the God such atheists don't believe in is a God they never believed in to start with.  I would conclude that the inability of such people to imagine a God of mature faith is probably the reason they are rather callow in their atheism.  

In looking at the sources for this,  I thought I might go back and re-read Puddin'head Wilson to see if it was any better than I thought in the 1980s, when I did my Complete Twain project.  I found the first chapter of the book started out with the quote I started with up top which is oddly appropriate for 2020 for its juxtaposition of truth and trump.  It's the reason I decided to write this. 

By the way,  the full quote goes:

There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow: Yet it was the schoolboy who said "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

As I said, an elevation of the thinking of children sentimentally taken as profundity.  So many an atheist proudly proclaims that he made up his mind when he was nine or ten and hasn't changed it ever since.  Which doesn't surprise me after this past two decades of the "new atheism" and my review of the old stuff, too. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Walter Brueggemann - Money

When I read the announcement that Walter Brueggemann was giving up his public appearances,  I was afraid that that constant source of inspiration and incitement to further thinking was going to go away.   But there has been more.  

I think this is a fairly recently made video, though I haven't looked to see when it was made.   The content is timeless. 

All Flash No Class

I am asked what I think of Yuval Noah Harari's rejection of free will.   I don't know much about Harari and the little I've seen of him I think he's a rather superficial, rather unimportant and uninteresting pop-scholar who, while maybe a few steps up from the fading Jordan Peterson (what is that U of T phony up to these days, anyway?) he is of that type.  

I have not read his rejection of free will but the little I have seen about it since you asked me makes me think it's the typical materialist-atheist-secularist stuff that  materialism will always lead to because it makes material causation the only admissible reality.   I think it's always bound to devolve into some kind of gangsterism.  

One of the claims he makes is that people who believe in free will will be the ones who are most vulnerable to manipulation by corporate-state oppression but that is nonsense.   While there are many naive and self-contradictory ways to talk about free will, free thought, there are more naive and self-contradictory ways to reject free will, worrying about robot-people being oppressed is one of the most obvious of those.

I'm not tempted to read more of him or about him,  I don't think he'll flash soon like Peterson has but he's not going to endure long enough to worry about.   He might sucker some people of fashion or a while but those idiots are nothing if not fickle and attention deficient. 

It's nice that he's a vegan,  I suppose.  I'm not impressed with his mindfulness practice.  I've come to be deeply skeptical of the mindfulness crowd. 

A Short Piece Coming Up To Pentecost

Listening to a mass setting a while back, one by Orlando di Lasso, and it occurred to me that there is a word notably missing from every one of the official Christian creeds that I knew of, a word that was central to the one and only creed Jesus is recorded as having endorsed,  the Jewish Shema Yisrael, the word "love".   That God is one, that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, strength and soul, and to love others as you love yourself.   That last part is an abbreviation in the manner of Hillel saying to follow The Law.  With the constantly given commandments of Jesus to love, you'd think that any Christian credo would at least mention the idea, but it's not in any of the various ones that spring to my mind. 

The exception to that among Christian creeds that I've read - I haven't read them all - is the Maasai Creed from the Congregation of the Holy Ghost* in east Nigeria  in the early 1960s that Jaroslav Pelikan wrote about in his book about Creeds, 

We believe in one high God, who out of love created the beautiful world. We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, and showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by His people, tortured and nailed, hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch Him, and on the third day He rose from the grave.

As Pelikan noted in an old interview that Krista Tippet did with him, the official creeds of Eastern and Western Christianity generally go from the birth narrative to the death narrative and totally ignore the public life of Jesus in which he preached, among other things, that the two great things to believe and practice were the Shema and the commandment to love other people.    You have to wonder what the history of Christianity in Europe and elsewhere would have been like if the contents of the Maasai creed had been recited at every Mass and every Divine Liturgy instead of the ones which are mostly assertions against theological theories common in the early centuries after Christianity gained official status with secular governments at the insistence of uniformity by the secular rulers and with the force of arms of some pretty ruthless emperors and Bishops with a share of that secular power.  

*  I don't know what, if any, connection it has with the European Congregation of the Holy Spirit but if it had any, I have to say I can't imagine such a Creed coming out of that group.  
"KFC hole"  that's what a big fat free speecher-presser told me to shut yesterday.  See what I said?  There are none more ready to tell an a real liberal to shut up than proponents of free speech.   Some of them have made it a career to tell liberals to shut up, they were some of the few "leftists" to get on TV doing that.  Nat Hentoff did, when he wasn't endlessly rehashing that one TV gig he was involved in getting her after Billie Holiday lost her cabaret license for being a dope addict.  

But mostly they love to get paid to strike a pose. playing Voltaire for the liberty of Nazis and Stalinists and billionaire gangsters to get them an even chance to destroy the lives and freedoms of other people, mostly in other places from where they live.  

Only since they're facile liars exploiting human vice and weakness, often with the backing of billionaires foreign but more so domestic, the facists, Nazis and other gangsters have more than an even playing field, already.  As I said, the "First Amendment" absolutists figure they deserve a chance to make it happen again and again and again . . . 

No doubt Hentoff, sitting in NYC, seldom felt that HIS safety was at issue.  And it's not as if HIS loved ones were in much danger of getting destroyed by the sex industry who largely funded the "free press, free speech" racket.   Is there a bigger bunch of big donor whores than the civil liberties industry? 

As someone who has been a vegetarian since the 1960s, I believe before it had appeared in New England and someone who didn't watch much commercial TV,  I didn't remember what "KFC" meant for about 20 seconds before I remembered the acronym from watching Steve Colbert's description of Donald Trump's diet.   Nope, don't have one of those to shut.   And I wouldn't, in any case. 

I would guess that it's his attempt at an inaptly placed class-regional put-down, he's a NYC kind of guy.   Which is typical of the geographic ignorance of that type from the hemisphere's most overrated locus. 

Update:  Well, to block all comments here, I've concluded I have a choice to disable the "scan on boot" option of my malware program and the crap cleaner I use to block all of the comments but I don't think I want to take that option.  It would be like going shopping without a mask, these days.  I don't want to mess directly with Blogger anymore than I have.   It kept reverting to my friend's account after he borrowed my computer to do something.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Troll Scat

Don't get your hopes up.  If I take after my longest lived direct ancestors I might have as much of a quarter of my life ahead of me.  

Update:  Let someone use my computer and the thing's messed up.  I can't get it back to my settings.  Blogger is not user friendly. 

Cut Off The Source Of Trump's Regurgitated Malignity

2005 Emototronic Furby Doll Figure Orange Pink Eyes Original Very ...

FOX propagandist, Steve Hilton should be deported back to Britland along with his fellow Brit-Hungarian fascist, the Nazi Seb Gorka because they are a present danger to the health and life of the American People.   Trump the world's most malignant Furby* parroted his call to reopen schools, the better to get lots of children sick and killing some of them, not to mention teachers (no doubt Trump figures the more teachers he can get killed the fewer of them will vote against him) and others.  

I'm tired of taking in foreign fascists so they can work in the American media, especially that owned by international fascists like Murdoch.  We should deport all of them.  

*  A perfect description of Trump's verbal process.  "Furbish", a language with short words, simple syllables, and various other sounds. They are programmed, however, to speak less and less Furbish and more and more English as they "grow".  Trump is a Furby  who learned his language from his Klansman father, and developed from what he heard from FOX and other TV and hate-speech radio.  

Charles Ives - Decoration Day

Daniel Stepner, violin
Donald Berman, piano

Never When I Clicked On This Biker Video Did I Ever Believe It Would Be This Informative

It can't be unrelated to the marketing as a product for macho-men that Harley Davidson's leadership was so immune from looking self-critically at what was wrong and changing it.  It's one of the central features of toxic masculinity that it is a betrayal of "manliness" to do that and it guarantees that making that your brand will make you brittle and breakable and unable to adapt.  It's rather hilarious that Trump's xenophobic racism was the occasion of him saying something that might have almost been right.  Broken clocks telling the right time twice or once a day. 

Hollywood features heavily in this.  Is there anything that has aged less well than those biker movies?   Though I regretted the minutes I spent on Easy Rider as soon as the opening credits were through.  Piece of shit. 

Update:  It's a business, it's no more than that.  Those who pretend it's an art, I think, are misguided.
Marlon Brando on the movies

I had wanted to find a clip of Bullwinkle Moose doing his Brando imitation but I couldn't.  I think it was living up the the bullshit of Harley cultism in the movies is as much of a reason that the company history is so full of funny stuff like them bawling and crying to Reagan for protectionism as smarter companies unencumbered with that macho nonsense ate their lunch and Reagan, the movie-cowboy capitalist rugged individualist (there are no milieus more violently demanding rigid conformity than the macho man ones, at least not outside of Pyongyang) giving it to them.  

Update:  I can't get the damned comments to stay off, every time my malware program functions it seems to kick them back on.  Needless to say the idiot who was temporarily cowed by finding out he'd called his hero, ol' Charles Darwin an idiot is back because it's apparently news to him that hours are made of minutes.   I regretted all of the minutes in Easy Rider as I knew I would as the opening credits ended.  It is Hollywood crap, a "counter culture" that is not counter to anything important, a lifestyle movie that challenged nothing except hair styles and costume.  It went no deeper than that.  The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was in every way a more daring movie. 

Update 2:  Brando was a world-weary 49 when he said that on the Dick Cavett show, he'd already been in The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris and had refused the Best Actor Oscar, he was hardly a beatnik.  It's not as if he didn't know the business better than an ass whose ignorant mind and concept of "art" was formed by the movies.   The idea that Marlon Brando was ever a beatnik is ridiculous but that someone whose every idea is a product of Hollywood crap and the ass end of commercial pop would think so isn't surprising.   

RMJ's Memorial Day post is so good that I'm not even going to try. 

Stuck In The Same Maze While Believing They've Escaped It

In the past two decades it's become apparent to me that though we stick them together there is a real, mutually exclusive difference between traditional American style liberalism and the various secular sects that are (generally wrongly) denominated "the left".   Any similarities between the two are in some cases based in preferences, not intellectual foundations though in many cases I think they are a tactical scheme of trying to gain power through appeals to "the masses" on the basis of a claim to care about their welfare - such as in Marxism - I think the history of such "leftists" when they gain power has shown that the results will be a gangster regime which has more in common with fascism or capitalism empowered politically.  

No traditional American liberalism, based in a higher view of human beings beyond material and economic utility but as possessing a status higher than that by the will of God should be confused for the same thing as Marxism or the various anarchisms which, even more absurdly, are considered to be close to it in a linear graph of relatedness.   Though not a few traditional American style liberals have made that mistake,  I think Eugene Debs did, so did many who got swayed over to the materialist, atheist, scientistic ideologies that led so many an otherwise liberal astray - often during their college years when they hankered after repute more than they did the pursuit of justice. 

I don't know why I've been feeling so inclined to look over the results of this publicly shared writing I've been doing for the past two decades and the extreme changes in my thinking that the fact checking of my previous beliefs have forced me to accept, driving me, as an old man,  farther in the direction of that American style liberalism than I was as a secular, agnostic, socialist.   Maybe its the result of the Covid 19 pandemic reminding me of the imminence of mortality. 

Looking critically at the political left, criticism forced by seeing its decades of impotent failure has not been popular with lefties.  But it's stupid for the American left to refuse to make that self criticism.   Something is obviously wrong with the American left, the left which, though it has advocated many policies that should ensure its widespread approval has been so abjectly a failure.  

It's not as if those decades of failure are unrelated to our habits of thought and action, which in the case of the American left is often inaction. And its certainly not as if the critique of us from outside, from the right, that we give up those positions of egalitarianism, of redistribution of wealth as a part of that equality, of protecting the environment, etc. that we become like them, are going to be helpful to our purposes.  It's not as if anyone else is in a position to make the changes to the left that are going to make us more effective in achieving more equality, more economic and civil justice,  a more livable, sustainable environment.   If we reject a rigorous internal criticism and the changes necessary to do that, it's just a continuation of what got us into this political wilderness to start with.  WE DID IT TO OURSELVES, GOD DIDN'T BRING US INTO THE WILDERNESS, WHICH IS WHY WE'VE BEEN IN IT LONGER THAN THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE AFTER THEY GOT OUT OF SLAVERY IN EGYPT. 

I didn't expect that the neo-atheist campaign would become important to my criticism of the left when I started, I resisted getting involved with it for as long as I could avoid it but it became apparent to me that that was not only typical of the self-imposed guarantees of failure, adopting ballot box poison positions and, worse, attitudes, but that materialist atheist scientism was probably the largest contributor to that failure.  And that that ideology was not only unpopular, it acted as an acid corroding and eroding the very basis on which egalitarian democracy rest, that ideology inevitably leads to a debasement of the human animal into an object, one which has no transcendent nature above any object which is there for use and exploitation.  Indeed, the logical necessities of materialist,atheist, scientism, in order to maintain its insistence on the material monist nature of morality will inevitably deny the reality of morality and, in the fullness of time and the necessity of academic scribblers making a name and career for themselves, leads to such self-contradictory absurdities as eliminative materialism which denies the reality of consciousness, itself.   The new atheist fad of the 2000s forced a confrontation of that fact which was, I now see, essential to understanding the difference between American style liberalism and the secular, materialist, scientistic, atheistic ideologies that it was damaged by.  

You can't have both.  Both cannot work yoked together, they are at cross purposes in their most essential essences, the left has been a house divided and like a dysfunctional family, they have not even understood the most basic reasons for their fall.   

In looking into the new atheist fad, the longer history of atheist ideological assertion, I have come to the conclusion that they have merely recapitulated in atheist scientistic terms all of the features of religious follies that atheists have used to attack religion among the shallow and ignorant.  Not a few of those self-identified opponents of such things as the assertion of rightness through authority have been among its most flagrant floggers of such authority.  I was reminded of that the other day when listening to the pirated online Rachel Maddow show when the Freedom From Religion Foundation had on that eminent thinker, Ron Reagan to promote atheism, the same family business that endlessly promotes atheism through fame fucking, not infrequently attributing atheism to someone who not only never advocated atheism but who actively opposed it (the research pieces I did on the death of Mozart  is some of the most personally satisfying to me).

More generally the absurdity of the atheist snobs who call themselves "free thinkers" as their ideology leads so many, perhaps most of them to insist that free thought is a material impossibility completes the argument that they are no less at cross purposes in their self-contradictory claims than the worst of religious orthodoxy has been.  That includes the claim that their all too human thought allows them access to a pure, unfiltered view of ultimate reality, whether through something like the Catholic integralist insistence on the character of the Magisterium as discerned by official fiat or the insistence of atheists that science is such an oracle of absolute infallibility unmitigated by the fact that all of all of this is a human interpretation of human experience as humanly processed by those minds the materialists insist aren't there.   That "freedom from religion" is not a freedom from religion, it's the recreation of all of those things which religion got wrong in terms of secular, materialist scientism.   It is like they're stuck in the same maze and they can't unlearn it.  

But religion should never have made that mistake because as early as the book of Exodus there are warnings against the folly of thinking human beings have that kind of immediate discernment of the ultimate reality.  God warns Moses that in the form of a human being, he cannot see the face of God and live (Exodus 33:18-30), though he can see the back of God. That's what he was doing while the others were getting up to mischief with a golden calf.   

Human beings are able to see lots of things, they cannot, in material form have an unmitigated view of ultimate reality unfiltered through human experience and understanding.  Which should lead us to humbly understand we are, none of us, supreme, we are equals.  I have absolute confidence that the radical economic leveling of The Law is related to that and an expression of that humility.  Which humility is so widely despised by the arrogant confidence of modernism but which is the source of egalitarian democracy and justice, most of all economic justice. 

Materialist, scientistic atheism makes moon-calves of us all.  It isn't the way out of that maze. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

62% of the 1,000 most influential retweeters — appeared to be bots,

The First Amendment absolutism of the 20th century is not only irrational in the way I pointed out yesterday, equating anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, fascist, Communist, Nazi, white supremacist, etc. ideologies that call for enslaving, oppressing, robbing and murdering people with egalitarian, democratic ideologies, enabling the lies of those who are hell bent on destroying anything decent in life because lies are more powerful in persuasive power than the truth often is,  First Amendment absolutism is dangerous because it magnifies the power of liars EVEN WHEN THOSE LIES ARE GETTING LITERALLY TENS OF THOUSANDS,  VERY POSSIBLY IN THE FUTURE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS AND MILLIONS KILLED TODAY.   It is criminal insanity that this is allowed under the slogan of "freedom of speech" or of the press or of whatever slogan of undeveloped minor 18th century poetic brevity you might raise to protect lies. 

From Business Insider: 

There's been a surge in bot activity in the past month in online discussions about reopening America from COVID-19 shutdowns, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said this week.

The researchers analyzed over 200 million tweets discussing COVID-19 and found that roughly half the accounts were likely bots.
They identified the bots by looking for accounts that tweeted more frequently than humanly possible or whose location appeared to rapidly switch among different countries.

It's unclear who's behind the surge in bot activity or whether they're originating from the US or abroad.

As parts of the US have lifted shutdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, there's been a fierce argument online about the risks and benefits of reopening. New research suggests that bots have been dominating that debate.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers analyzed over 200 million tweets discussing COVID-19 and related issues since January and found that roughly half the accounts — including 62% of the 1,000 most influential retweeters — appeared to be bots, they said in a report published this week.
That's a far higher level of bot activity than usual, even when it comes to contentious events — the level of bot involvement in discussions about things like US elections or natural disasters is typically 10% to 20%.

The researchers identified bots using artificial-intelligence systems that analyze accounts' frequency of tweets, number of followers, and apparent location.

"Tweeting more frequently than is humanly possible or appearing to be in one country and then another a few hours later is indicative of a bot," Kathleen Carley, a computer-science professor who led the research, said in a release.

"When we see a whole bunch of tweets at the same time or back to back, it's like they're timed," Carley added. "We also look for use of the same exact hashtag, or messaging that appears to be copied and pasted from one bot to the next."

The researchers said they found that among tweets about "reopening America," 66% came from accounts that were possibly humans using bot assistants to spread their tweets more widely, while 34% came from bots.

The article claims that they don't know where this is coming from but we know where it's almost certainly coming from, out of the internet firms owned by billionaire criminals of the United States,  the Putin crime mob, those in other countries, out of the Republican-fascist establishment that imposed the most selfish, self-centered, ignorant, vain, criminally irresponsible and stupid chief executive of our lifetimes, wreaking disaster on the United States, harming We The People in unprecedented ways.  We know that this would be done in concert and with those motives.  WE KNOW THAT IT IS AN OPERATION THAT FAVORS TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS.  We know it is done by those who are bent on destroying American democracy, one of the goals of fascists and other gangsters around the world.  And the American judiciary in the form of the Supreme Court is telling us there is nothing whatever to be done about it because the First Amendment's language prevents that.  

Those on the alleged left who bought into that are some of the biggest chumps in the history of human culture.  Most of them professional writers and journalists and others in the allegedly intellectual professions.  And they have learned nothing from seeing how lies mixed with modern technology are destroying democracy because the slave power protectors, Madison and his buddies, unenthusiastic from the beginning of the proposed Bill of Rights, made believe they were poets instead of lawyers, writing vague opportunities for corruption instead of a carefully written contract.  

Words have the power to kill, they have the power to kill us at cross purposes with other words that claim to protect us.  It is clear from the Trump phenomeon, the depths of criminal depravity which remain in office, that the Constitution does not protect us in present circumstances.  That happens when those using the words in them lie with those intents or not minding all that much if that is the result.  Our legal system, the media, the academic establishment that pushed first amendment absolutism have had more than a century to see the results and, mostly privileged, white, mostly affluent, mostly those who the current system works out for, many of them actual fascists themselves*  are entirely OK with those results because they figure they won't impinge on them.   This is what comes of the kind of easily dismissing the most important absolutes of morality in the way that modern materialism not only permits but demands.   It is the ideology which is the enforced absolute of respectability in modern America if you want to get ahead and stay within the bounds of conventional respectability.  

If we don't do better at thinking this through and changing those words, we will die from them, American democracy is gasping without a ventilator under the Republican-fascists in the executive, the Senate and on the Supreme Court, we don't have much time left.  If we don't do it, we will die. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday Night Radio Drama -Katie Holly - Sharon

After a decade of living it up and haven’ the craic, Sharon returns to her mother, her roots and her hometown. She works in a bar, hangs out with the local drama group and begins to feel cornered into following everyone else by getting married, buying a house and having a baby. Irene Kelleher, Marie O’Donovan and Mark Lawrence star in Sharon by Katie Holly. 

Sharon was written by Katie Holly 

Starring Irene Kelleher, Marie O’Donovan and Mark Lawrence

On sound was Damian Chennell Produced by Kevin Reynolds

They have the few actors voicing a lot of different characters, lots of them in the main character's head.  It's a bit confused but, then, that's the point of it. 

RTÉ, Irish national radio is beginning a season of plays by women authors to celebrate a century of women's suffrage.   Seems like a good thing to celebrate.  

During My Time Online I've Stopped Being Surprised When The Biggest Fattest Free Speech Blowhards Tell Me To Shut Up On This Issue

None of those who has spouted that most proven empty of empty slogans "more speech" at me ever answered my point that their advocacy for the misnamed "rights" of Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, male supremacists, Stalinists, Maoists, etc. to be free to promote their ideologies were actually telling the intended victims of all of those groups that those self-important, full of themselves "civil libertarians" were perfectly OK with giving those intending to oppress and kill them a sporting chance to succeed in winning power and putting their genocidal, oppressive intent into full practice.  

"More speech" turns "Never Again" into,  Oh, let's risk it happening again, it makes us feel all good and free speechy.   

Is it any wonder that that ideology comes almost entirely out of the white-collar babbling and scribbling professions who don't really work, who are well paid to do the bidding of the owners of the media and on college faculties and who seldom belong to a group who is really in present danger of being shot by white supremacists or bad cops.  Most of those I can think of, affluent or aspiring to be white males, though there are some women who have bought into that too.*  

That those ideologies have had power in the past proves it is possible for them to gain and exercise power.  For anyone who is stupid enough to say "it can't happen here in the good ol' US of A," they certainly must not belong to any of the racial or ethnic groups who were very successfully killed and oppressed and enslaved (both before and after the Civil War).  It most certainly has and does and no doubt will continue to happen here for them and their families.   

They are almost certainly white and rich and of a group who never had that very real history which never really ended.   Those who figure we (by which they really mean "I") are not really in danger of having the brief moment in American history in which the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Title 9 etc. were law, law that is being overturned by the fascism that has been resurgent here since shortly after the Supreme Court said that that mass media have a right to lie with impunity.   Nixon lost in 1960, he won the next election he ran in after the Sullivan Decision allowing the media to lie with impunity, it's been on a downward slope ever since.  The fascists have won with that "more speech" squeaking from the mouths of liberals even as the fascists also had their "more speech" something the "more speechers" seem to have overlooked.  And as the fascists' "more speech" was made all the more by the Buckley v. Valeo Decision which made money speech**  in addition to the other "free speech" rulings that allowed the fascists their chance to use the mass media to sway an effective margin of victory, made all the easier through the Electoral College and the Supreme Court run amok in clear partisan interference in elections - remember Bush v Gore?  Which led directly to the Republican-fascist dominance on the court continuing.  If you don't think the Roberts Court will try to reinstall Republicans you are an an idiot incapable of learning from the hardest of experience.  Much of our scribbling class are such idiots. 

You can take your "more speech" and go to hell as far as I'm concerned. You're as certain enablers of American fascism as the Green Party and the play-lefties and hate talk radio have been.  

*  Women even as they are the focus of the most sustained and ongoing lynching campaign in human culture - still averaging three to four a day in the last statistics I recall reading. 

**  First posted at olvlzl, Sunday, June 11, 2006

EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW: Lies over the door to the Supreme Court

Plessy v. Ferguson. What would your reaction to that phrase be if you didn't know the decision was a racist lie? If the pretext of the decision had been true, if it had maintained or established real equality would it be a stain across our history? It wouldn't come right after Dred Scott on the list of infamous Supreme Court injustices. Equality for black people in 1896 was a lie and the majority in Plessy knew it was a lie as they told it.

I second the nomination of Buckley v. Valeo to join that list of shame. That decision makes a pretext of upholding free speech rights while clearly endowing the rich with superior speech rights. It says that money equals speech.

If money equals speech then you can count it, you can figure out how much speech someone has. It only takes the simplest math. With p being a person and M being the money they have. P(M)= Speech owned by P. Or, more simply, 1xM=Speech. P is a person and always equals 1. M is a variable, it depends on the amount of money p owns. As M increases then the total speech owned by p increases. Buckley v. Valeo makes it possible for the first time in our history to calculate the amount of free speech someone has.

It might be lost on our brilliant Supreme Court and the scholars who support this monstrosity but if M=O the free speech owned by P is zero [Especially speech drowned out by the 24hr-7-365 corporate propaganda liars.] Maybe they are so busy rearranging legal Platonisms that they don't know what happens when you multiply one by zero. Or maybe they do understand and the outcome doesn't bother them. And that wouldn't surprise me anymore than that it is a Buckley who has his name attached to it.

The law being an ass, it is possible for someone to support this awful decision on theoretical principle while ignoring its horrible results. At least one of our greatest Justices, Marshall, did support it. I wonder if he would have if he knew what it would lead to. But that any of the self-proclaimed "originalists" could support it is stinking hypocrisy. The founders purportedly held that all people have equal speech rights under the law. Yet the plain result of Buckley v. Valeo not only distributes the right of free speech unequally, it also theoretically blots it out for the dispossessed. I say theoretically but can anyone looking at our politics since this decision honestly deny that this hasn't been the clear result?

I don't have much M but I'll be damned and in the fires of hell before I'm going to be silent about this.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Elizabeth Warren Makes Demanding Safe Elections Easy The Boys Whine On

Go to her website, find your state and go.  

Elizabeth Warren is already acting more presidential than most of her competitors were, not waiting, doing it now.  

I'll point out, contrary to what the asshole boys like Duncan Black and Sam Seder repeat like male Chatty Cathy dolls,  Nancy Pelosi already has been trying to do that through the very first bill she got passed in the House even as she knew, apparently as those blog bully boys still don't, that she can't make laws when the Republicans hold any power. 

Sam Seder has really got issues with strong women, which is why he seems to be pushing out Jamie for that idiot Nomiki Konst, these days.  I'm not the only one who's noticed.  I wonder if his past women problems aren't related to it.  He certainly hates Nancy Pelosi as he hated on Elizabeth Warren 

Ha-Ha, I Guess That Quote From Chuck Learned 'em Or, They Being Ineducable By Choice, At Least Shut Them Up

Apparently the tolls want to drop the matter of insect intelligence after yesterday morning's post.  Finding out that ol' Chuckie Darwin talked, not only about insect intelligence but he also cited the intelligence of the orders of insects I gave as examples, the Hymenoptera (as noted in the Japan Times, bees are even more impressive than previously known) and Coleoptera, the latter which I noted Boris Johnson is stupider than*.  Shut them up, it seems. 

Research, it pays off.  Post-literacy is voluntary stupidity of the Trumpian kind whether it's on the fascist right or when it's left (un)done on  the play-left but that's what culture has become in the post-WWII period.   I never really understood just how dangerous the dumbing down of Americans by TV was until I went online and started seeing the wreckage in their unedited thinking.  

One of the things I've realized is how much of the stuff I'd read, referencing authors, famous ones, generally, was a distortion of what they wrote until the internet made it possible to fact check in ways that would have involved a large library, a good card catalog and lots of stair climbing and looking through stacks and indexes (when that worked or those were provided).   That is the one thing I don't think I'd ever want to give up, the ability to fact check and check to see if authors really said what they're being claimed to have said.  The habits of that kind of dishonesty, twisting or distorting or lying about things is a lot more ingrained in secular, modern intellectual culture than I'd ever have guessed if that old inefficient means of fact checking hadn't given way to things like, Project Gutenberg and machine search for strings of letters.    It's probably not going to ever overtake the bad things about it, lying is a lot easier than looking for the truth, but it makes finding the truth a lot easier than it used to be.  

And that platinum mine is left unused by the college-credentialed in enormous numbers.  Told you it was a big mistake to get rid of Frosh Rhetoric and Saturday classes. 

*  I have no doubt that Piers Morgan will revert to being officially stupider than a beetle soon.   Though I would never try to rank the intelligence of insects the way Darwin did.  It's obvious they have intelligence it's not an intelligence that human beings can really have much understanding of.  No doubt the enormous family of the beetles are smart enough to have persisted longer than the primates seem likely to.   Our terms are not their terms.  

Stupid Supremacy Touts "Natural Superiority"

Trump said it,  “The company, founded by a man named Henry Ford, Good bloodlines, good bloodlines. If you believe in that stuff, you got good blood.”

Well, I've been warning you of the constant danger of eugenics for the past fourteen years.   

The Times of Israel notes he did so at a Ford factory,  that would be in "Henry Ford" noted antisemite and someone who is in line with what Tacitus and Voltaire said about Jews' "bloodline".

You will note one of Trump's media learned weasel word habits, "If you believe in that stuff."   Well, we know his father believed in it,  he  was arrested at a KKK riot in New York City in the 1920s, that he and sonny boy were found to have practiced racial redlining in their properties, that his is the most overtly racist presidency since, probably since Andrew Jackson's.   I don't think even Wilson's was as bad.  Or Reagan's.  Racism is an expression of that belief, along with other forms of bigotry. 

I am dead serious that this is going to be a recurring curse certainly as long as people believe in natural selection and neo-Darwinism.   It was bad before that but people believed that with those inventions it was official "science".   It's an irony that those who despise the fact of evolution the most just  and officially hate Darwin just adore Darwinism as it props up racism.    Natural selection is a class-based, racist myth as certainly as those myths believed in by Tacitus, Voltaire,  and Trump. 

The great irony in this is that it is the stupidest, indisputably worst president in our lifetimes, someone who is getting enormous numbers of Americans killed through his criminal negligence who is stupidly and unknowingly pushing a form of folk natural selection theory.  

And I will note the Supreme Court and the Republicans in Congress are entirely OK with the stupidest, most criminally negligent president in the history of the country staying in office and stacking the judiciary with judges who will be OK with that.   The Roberts Court must be the last straw in Supreme Court partisan pampering of oligarchic criminals.  Which is entirely related to everything mentioned above in this post.